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Identity check: letting local police check detainees' immigration status causes concern.

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The Department of Homeland Security Noun 1. Department of Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
Homeland Security

executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States
 is undertaking a new initiative to allow local police to check the immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important.  status of those persons it takes under custody. The plan has sparked protest by at least one human rights group.

In the past, detainees' fingerprints were checked against a Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice charged with investigating all violations of federal laws except those assigned to some other federal agency.  database to determine if they had a criminal history. Under the Secure Communities Program, however, their fingerprints will also be checked against DHS' Ident IDENT Identification
IDENT Identify
IDENT Identified
IDENT Automated Biometrics Identification System (law enforcement) 
 database, said Anna Hinken, a DHS DHS Department of Homeland Security (USA)
DHS Department of Human Services
DHS Department of Health Services
DHS Demographic and Health Surveys
DHS Dirhams (Morocco national currency) 
 spokeswoman.

The program checks a detainee's biometrics against a watch list of nearly five million known or suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators that have been identified by U.S. government agencies and Interpol, Hinken said.

Biometrics are also checked against more than 100 million sets of fingerprints DHS has collected since the start of US-VISIT US-VISIT United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology , which takes biometrics from foreign visitors entering the United States to determine if a person is using an alias, she said.

The goal is to prevent dangerous criminals--drug offenders, murderers, rapists, robbers and kidnappers--from being released back into communities, said David Venturella, the program's executive director in a statement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS agency, administers the program. If an individual's fingerprints match a set in the DHS system, an automated process notifies ICE and the local authorities who made the arrest. Cases are reviewed individually and violent offenders could face deportation if they are staying illegally in the United States.

The program has been adopted in several North Carolina counties and DHS plans to extend it to state and local law enforcement agencies A law enforcement agency (LEA) is a term used to describe any agency which enforces the law. This may be a local or state police, federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  nationwide. Duplin County, N.C., Sheriff Blake Wallace said in a statement that the system "is another tool in our arsenal to make Duplin County an even safer place to live, work and raise a family."

Human rights advocates worry about a slippery slope. The initiative is a departure from the norm. Ordinarily, police do not check offenders' immigration status.

Amnesty International USA Amnesty International USA (AI USA) is a United States organisation that works to end human rights abuses and part is of the Amnesty International network.

Since being founded, the organisation has worked to free prisoners of conscience, oppose torture, and fight other human
 worries about the program's expansion, citing "fundamental constitutional and human rights concerns," said Sarnata Reynolds, the organization's director of refugee and migrant rights.

"Secure Communities can be applied too broadly, with draconian effects," she said.

While the initiative checks biometrics during booking, technology exists to check fingerprints with handheld devices. That could give officers a green light to review minorities' immigration status during a traffic violation.
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Title Annotation:SECURITY BEAT: HOMELAND DEFENSE BRIEFS
Comment:Identity check: letting local police check detainees' immigration status causes concern.(SECURITY BEAT: HOMELAND DEFENSE BRIEFS)
Author:Rusling, Matthew
Publication:National Defense
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:393
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